Could Cindy McCain Replace John McCain in the Senate?


Could Cindy McCain, John McCain’s wife, be named as her husband’s replacement in the U.S. Senate? It’s possible. Her name has been floated as a possible replacement by Arizona news media. Certainly, Cindy, more than any other possible choice, could best serve in her husband’s memory and honor.

There is precedent; Mary Bono replaced her husband Sonny Bono in the House of Representatives when he died tragically.

U.S. Senator John McCain, a Republican, died at the age of 81 on August 25, 2018 of a brain tumor. Right now, the governor, who will get to appoint McCain’s replacement in the U.S. Senate, is being circumspect and saying little to show proper respect to the period of mourning.

The questions surrounding a McCain replacement have new currency with Democratic impeachment talk as a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump. It’s unclear how the bad feelings between Trump and John McCain could play into a decision about whether to appoint his wife to the seat in light of those concerns. In February 2018, Cindy said on the View that she was tired of Trump’s treatment of her husband, saying, “We need more compassion, more empathy, more togetherness. We don’t need more bullying and I’m tired of it.”

John and his second wife Cindy McCain have four children together. He also has three children from his first marriage. McCain and Cindy Hensley married in 1980 and went on to have three children: Meghan, Jack, and Jimmy. They also adopted a daughter, Bridget.

Here’s what you need to know:

McCain Will Be Replaced by a Republican Until 2020 & Cindy’s Name Makes Lists of Possible Replacements


McCain’s replacement will be a Republican. Because McCain died while he was still in office as a Senator, that means Arizona’s governor will get to appoint someone to serve out his term, according to The Washington Post.

According to Vox, Arizona state law holds that the governor must pick a Republican because that is the party of John McCain. Furthermore, Arizona’s governor is himself a Republican.

Thus, Democrats will have to wait until 2020 to have a shot at McCain’s Senate seat.

The replacement chosen by the governor will serve out McCain’s term through 2020. According to the Post, there would have been a special election for McCain’s seat if he had vacated it before May 30, 2018. However, McCain died on August 25, 2018, which gives the governor the appointment.

The governor of Arizona is Republican Doug Ducey. According to AZCentral, Ducey has been quiet about whom he might pick to replace McCain. The newspaper reported that the only thing Ducey has ruled out is appointing himself to the post.

Names floated by AZCentral as possibilities include McCain’s wife, Cindy McCain; Kirk Adams, Ducey’s chief of staff; Barbara Barrett, who ran for governor; former U.S. Senate Republican whip Jon Kyl; Karrin Taylor Robson, founder of a real-estate development company; former Congressman John Shadegg; Matt Salmon, a former Congressman; and Eileen Klein, the state treasurer.

In floating the name of Cindy McCain, the prominent Arizona newspaper noted that Cindy McCain, 64, is a “philanthropist, businesswoman, spouse, military mom, and grandmother.” The newspaper noted that she has appeared in her husband’s stead at public events as he fought brain cancer and has fought against human trafficking, giving her a public cause.

You can read her 2008 speech to the Republican National Convention here.


Back in May 2018, Breitbart, the conservative news site, reported that Cindy McCain was likely to be John McCain’s replacement. The site noted that Cindy has described herself as pro-life but supports gay rights.

Is Cindy McCain a Republican or Democrat? Republican. She “was chosen to represent the state of Arizona at the Republican National Convention as the Chairwoman of the Arizona Delegation” in 2000, according to her bio.

Cindy McCain’s estimated $300 million wealth is inherited, and it dwarfs that of her husband. John McCain’s finance disclosure reports indicate some of her wealth is held independently of him. She has a lot of it.

Cindy inherited a “Phoenix beer distributorship that is worth hundreds of millions of dollars,” reported The New York Times. Sites that estimate celebrity net worth often peg Cindy’s net worth at more than $100 million – and as noted even as high as $300 million – although no one knows the exact amount.

The Times reported that Cindy’s father started the business, Hensley & Company, “a half-century ago,” and it was the “exclusive wholesaler of Budweiser, Bud Light, and other Anheuser-Busch products in the Phoenix area.” The newspaper reported that the company was the third largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the United States.

Cindy owns 34 percent of the company and, with her children and other family members, controls 2/3rds of the company’s stock, reported The Times.

According to NPR, “The company, which distributes brands including Bud Light and Budweiser” had a “60 percent share of the Phoenix market and had $370 million in revenues” one recent year.

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Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol February 5, 2015 in Washington, DC.

NPR reports that Cindy and John McCain signed a prenuptial agreement when they married in 1980. “Cindy Hensley met John McCain more than 20 years earlier at a party in Hawaii. He was a 43-year-old naval officer, married at the time. She was 25,” a 2008 NPR story read.

John McCain initially worked for his father-in-law and then ran for Congress with loans from Cindy, reports NPR. The couple has filed separate tax returns in past years, and their exact finances are a bit mysterious due to Cindy’s penchant for privacy, according to NPR.

In 2000, Cindy McCain “inherited majority control and became chair of Hensley & Co. when her father passed away,” according to Celebrity Net Worth, which reports: “The company does more than $400 million per year in revenue and employs 1200 people. Hensley is the third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the United States and one of the largest privately-owned companies in Arizona.”

Cindy also has had a much publicized – but old – battle with prescription drug addiction. Her daughter Meghan voted for third-party candidate Evan McMullin for president in 2016.

Controversial former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently complained that Cindy McCain blocked him on Twitter.

The U.S. Senate requires senators to submit detailed financial disclosure reports. The most recent report available for McCain on the Senate website is 2015. You can read the 44-page report here. You can also search for it on the U.S. Senate website here. Read McCain’s financial disclosure reports dating back to 1982 here.

Most of the entries deal with McCain’s wife’s holdings. Some interesting tidbits from the McCain report:

McCain received a Navy pension of more than $73,000 per year. In 2015, he received more than $2,800 in royalties from his book, Faith of My Fathers. McCain also draws a U.S. Senator’s salary of $174,000.

He has multiple checking accounts. One has at least $100,000 in it. His wife has a property in La Jolla, California that is held independently and worth more than $1 million. Cindy McCain has an interest in everything from a parking garage to a professional baseball team. Cindy McCain has pages of securities and other investments.

Ducey released a statement after McCain’s death but it focused on the Senator’s heroism and service – not on his replacement. Ducey’s statement reads:

John McCain is one American who will never be forgotten.

He was a giant. An icon. An American hero. But here at home, we were most proud to call him a fellow Arizonan. Like so many of us, he was not born here, but his spirit, service and fierce independence shaped the state with which he became synonymous.

Angela and I join all Arizonans in praying for Cindy and the entire McCain family during this difficult time and offering our full support.

As we mourn his passing and celebrate his truly phenomenal life, we’re also faced with the void John McCain’s absence leaves in the heart and soul of our nation.

John McCain fought for America every day — from the Navy through Vietnam to the U.S. Senate. He fought for what he thought was right, even when it wasn’t popular. His dogged patriotism and passion for country made him an inspiration, and a model, for all of us.

John McCain was about more than politics. He brought us above partisanship and challenged us to be great.

He once told us, ‘We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.’

May his life and legacy continue to inspire us to build a future for this country, and a history for this country, that would make John McCain proud.